Everyone gets mail. It can consume a lot of your time, effort and storage space to process and store. Here are 5 tips to help you manage your incoming mail.
- Open your mail over a trash can.
This simple tip can help make sure that any mail that doesn’t belong in your house gets taken back out. If you have a trash can outside, that may be an even better place to open it. This is a particularly good way to make sure that the envelopes and generic mailings don’t clutter up your work area.
- Get off the lists.
If a company has you on their mailing list, but you don’t want to receive anything else from them, simply ask to be taken off. It is better for the company, better for the environment, and will save you time in the long run.
- Be careful what you do with personal information.
Back to the idea of opening the mail over the trash: Do not simply throw away mail that has personal information on it. Credit card applications shouldn’t just be trashed, they need to be shredded or otherwise destroyed. Think in terms of “What would someone be able to do if they had this information?” Even if it seems harmless, think about what they could do if they put that information together with the other information you throw out over the course of a month.
- Throw away extra sheets of paper.
Next time you get a bank statement in the mail, look at how much you don’t really need. Usually there is a single page with the important info for your records, a page of advertising, a second page that contains not useful information, and sometimes even more pieces of paper that are useless to you. If you can throw away (or shred) those extra sheets before you even try to process your mail, it will save you time and helps make sure you aren’t storing useless information.
- Online statements.
It doesn’t work for everyone, but consider going to online statements. Most places don’t have a good infrastructure for sending you statements by email, so it might take more time than it is worth to log in to a bunch of different websites. But if most of your mail comes from one place, it might be worth considering for that one place.
Arjun Muralidharan says
I don’t know how things are elswhere, but here in Switzerland, we get a lot of advertising material stuffed into our mailbox.
It’s therefore common to see a “no ads please” sticker on mailboxes, which we have done. I think the print ads usually don’t inform a lot, and in this day and age (speak: with the internet), I don’t need to told a hundred times that there’s a sale on potatoes at the supermarket.
I posted about this very issue today.
My advice is similar: don’t even put the mail down anywhere! Recycle, put in shred box, or put in inbox for processing.
Once you put it down, it will start to grow – I know this from experience! Much, much better to develop the habit of taking care of it right away.
Moving a recycling basket to where we keep the mail really revolutionized our mail system. The pile up is gone and we actually open their mail sooner since it’s easier to deal with.